La Famille Leger is an old school family band playing the music of our heritage: the traditional music of Quebec and New Brunswick. Following in the footsteps of the great French-Canadian family bands like La Famille Soucy, La Famille Leger plays the instrumental dance music of French Eastern Canada on fiddle, accordion, guitar, piano and pieds (clogging).
Patriarch Louis Leger leads the band on the one-row melodeon. Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Louis grew up speaking French as his first language and discovered folk music as a teenager in the 1960s. He traveled through Europe as \"Ludwig Luffelspieler\" playing spoons and fiddle in an old-time jugband called \"The Stringband\". Returning to America, he married and raised a family, working as a school music teacher. His son, Devon, was bitten by the folk music bug and set out to learn Irish fiddling. When Devon discovered his French-Canadian roots through the music of La Bottine Souriante, Louis decided to go back and learn the music he\'d heard growing up in New Brunswick. Together, they formed a family band with Devon\'s mom, Barbara, on guitar and his wife, Dejah, on piano. Barbara discovered the guitar after many years spent enjoying folk music around the home and has taken to it like a fish to water. Dejah comes from a classical piano background of many years and a strong folk background as a singer-songwriter.
\"Comme tous les groupes de musiciens canadiens-français renommés, la Famille Léger habite l\'univers des musiques traditionnelles du Canada français. Ce groupe familial de la «vieille école» maîtrise le violon, l\'accordéon, la guitare, le piano et les pieds et joue des répertoires transmis de génération en génération. Découvrez les chansons du Nouveau monde et du Nouveau-Brunswick, de l\'arrière-pays et des cuisines québècoises du bon vieux temps, avec le patriarche, Louis Léger, et son mélodéon à un rang (sorte d\'accordéon à boutons), son fils Devon, au violon, la maman de Devon, Barbara, à la guitare, ainsi que son épouse, Dejah, au piano. Soyez de la partie, on sera «en famille» ! (Festival du Bois 2008)
1. Moccasin Shuffle/Louis Cyr: We’ve found some great tunes in the repertoire of Gerry Robichaud, an Acadian fiddler from New Brunswick who later lived in the States. Moccasin Shuffle is from his playing and supposedly comes from a Mi’kmaq fiddler in New Brunswick. The second tune, Louis Cyr, pays tribute to the famous Québec strongman. Some of his feats of strength include lifting a platform on his back with 18 men, and resisting the pull of four draft horses.
2. Joe Parson’s Jig/Diane’s Happiness (E. Benoit)/Aunt Maggie Gambin’s Tune: We put this set together with some of our favorite tunes from Newfoundland. Both Joe Parson’s Jig and Aunt Maggie Gambin’s Tune are from Vince Collins, a Newfoundland accordion player with excellent taste in tunes. Diane’s Happiness is a composition of Emile Benoit, the great fiddler from Newfoundland’s French Acadian communities.
3. Reel à Gastonguay: Gaspé fiddler Édouard Richard’s tune repertoire has been a revelation since he released his debut recording in 2000. His tunes are perfectly crafted, with a simplicity that makes them easily recognizable. This is one of our favorites.
4. Hi Hin La: This song is also know as “Mon Père il m’a Marié”. It was one of Louis’ favorite songs as a child growing up in New Brunswick and Québec. Kora helps us out on the chorus.
5. Reel de la Petite Misère/Reel des Siamois (A. Marchand): Devon and Dejah play a duet on mandolin and guitar. The first comes from the seminal Québécois band, Entourloupe, while the second was composed by André Marchand. Founder of La Bottine Souriante and a guitarist and singer of great ability, André is also a wonderful tunesmith.
6. Rêve du Quêteux: This popular tune comes from the repertoire of André Alain, a very influential fiddler, but the tune itself can be traced back to the itinerant fiddler William “Quêteux” Tremblay, who roamed the backroads of Québec looking for food and lodging in return for tunes. It’s been said that he was the type of person who would always need a little more syrup to finish his pancakes and a few more pancakes to finish his syrup!
7. Acadian Contra: Gigue Brayonne/Reel Bouctouche/Reel des Acadiens (E. Arsenault): Here’s a whole raft of contra-friendly Acadian tunes. Louis found Gigue Brayonne played by the accordionist Adélard Thomassin. Les Brayons are a historical community of Acadians from the Madawaska region of New Brunswick. Reel Bouctouche comes from Acadian fiddler Gerry Robichaud and is named for a local village in New Brunswick. Reel des Acadiens is an amazing composition from powerhouse PEI fiddler Eddie Arsenault. It comes from one of our favorite CDs: “Party Acadien”, that records a wild kitchen party led by Eddie and La Famille Arsenault. Vive la musique en famille!
8. Cache Tes Fesses: This song is about “un petit bonhomme” (a “little man”) who carries his wife off on his back. It’s full of double meanings (and single meanings)!
9. La Pêcheuse/Les Soeurs Cotnoir (E. Favreau)/Reel de Tadoussac: Some of Devon’s favorite tunes! La Pecheuse comes from the repertoire of Louis ‘Pitou’ Boudreault by way of Eric Favreau. The second tune is itself a composition of the great Québécois fiddler Eric Favreau, and the last tune comes from the playing of the legendary Joseph Allard.
10. Gigue du Salon (P. Gemme)/6/8 de St. Germain/Quadrille de l’ile d’Orleans: These tunes work great as jig tunes for contradances. In Québec, jigs are known as “six-huits” and the “gigue” is a clog or step-dance tune. Gigue du Salon comes from the pen of Genticorum fiddler Pascal Gemme. The next two jigs come from the playing of Eric Favreau, an excellent “tunecatcher”.
11. New Brunswick Jig/La Turlutte Acadienne: Two Acadian tunes for solo fiddle. New Brunswick Jig, from the playing of Gerry Robichaud, sounds crooked but is actually straight as an arrow. La Turlutte Acadienne comes from our good friend Kevin Carr and is one of the most crooked tunes we know.
12. Jean Petit Qui Danse: This is one of the favorite songs at our children’s concert. A great way to get everyone up and dancing.
13. Valse de Grand-Mère (D. Léger): Dejah wrote this beautiful tune and we often play it for our children’s concerts. Parents and kids can waltz together.
14. Fais Do-Do: Dejah found this great old French lullaby and adapted it for her gorgeous singing and for the bedtime routine of little Kora Léger.
Recorded and mixed by David Cahn à la maison
(Except tracks 3, 5, 8, 9, 11 and 14)
Mastered by Neville Pearsall at Synergy Studios
Discs manufactured by Chinook Wind Studios